September 21, 2012
Robert A. Pastor, U.S.-Mexico Chamber
Exactly five centuries after Christopher Columbus’ famous voyage, the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States “re-discovered” North America. In 1992, they signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and dismantled trade and investment barriers. This was an historic decision for all three countries, but especially for Canada and Mexico because the fundamental characteristic of North America is its asymmetry – the disproportionate power of the United States.
Read more here: US-Mex Chamber – Pastor Sept 2012 – 2pg
September 19, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle, 9/19/11
NAFTA was originally a free trade agreement among Canada, Mexico and the United States, but it soon morphed into a piñata for pandering pundits and politicians. Moved by different fears, each took whacks at it. The first fear was a loss of jobs to Mexico, but as it turned out, NAFTA’s most rapid growth in trade coincided with the largest expansion of jobs in American history. Then, the pundits blamed NAFTA for illegal migration, drugs and violence, and every problem in our relations with Mexico and Canada.
Of course, NAFTA did not address these issues, which are part of a new transnational agenda in which all three countries have a choice of blaming each other or devising a new mode of cooperation. So far, they are still in the NAFTA-blaming game. The time has come to end the debate on NAFTA and begin one on the future of North America. If we fail to grasp this, our chronic problems will grow worse, and our potential as a region competing against China will never be utilized.
August 15, 2011
Robert A. Pastor, America’s Quarterly, Spring 2011
Two decades ago, the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States forged an agreement that transformed North America from just a geographical expression to the world’s most formidable economic entity. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) eliminated most of the trade and investment barriers that had segmented the continent. Within a decade, trade among the three countries tripled and foreign direct investment (FDI) quintupled. By 2001, the three nations of North America accounted for 36 percent of the world product—up from 30 percent in 1994. And while many economists have waxed enthusiastic about the growing power of Brazil, U.S. trade with Mexico today is more than six times larger than its trade with Brazil.
Unfortunately, since 2001 regional cooperation has stagnated. NAFTA, designed to expand trade and investment, has proven too limited in addressing the current issues facing the three countries. The time has come for the leaders of North America to recommit to regional integration if they want to effectively address the policy issues facing the region.